Unfold the Untold 1.jpgA new creative project between hospital patients and Carlisle school children is taking place, thanks to £48,000 of Arts Council funding.

The Unfold the Untold project features patients from Beech C and Elm C wards at the Cumberland Infirmary working with 12 children from Houghton C of E School, near Carlisle, to create stories through puppetry, crafts and art.

There are currently two creative sessions each week on the wards. Artists visit patients and collect stories to take back to the children who are encouraged to develop the stories further.

Over the next year creativity will weave between the school and hospital culminating in a co-created magical book and accompanying creative pack.

Susie Tate, Project Manager from Healing Arts, is overseeing the project. She said: “Two months in and we have two artists – Ali and Jen – who have been going onto Beech and Elm wards.

“Ali is a puppeteer and Jen is a creative visual artist. They’ve been busy collecting stories from patients. The children then take the stories further and see where they go.

“This project is a continuation of a pilot last year which resulted in a book called The All Gas and Galloping Gang. The book is available on the wards for patients and visitors to read.

“Unfold The Untold uses the power of creative activities to enhance wellbeing and bring people together from across communities and generations through shared story telling.

We are supporting young people at Houghton Primary and patients on Beech C and Elm C wards to express their voice through weekly co-creative sessions. Intergenerational conversations are enabled by our team acting as a ‘creative postal service’ between school children and hospital patients.

“The creative post will contribute to an illustrated story book and resource pack that teachers can use to work creatively with future students, and ward staff can use to build connections and conversations with their patients.

“Last term we gathered the stories and asked patients what they would put on a paradise island.

We have a patient with dementia who loves walking so we’ve been using his maps to reminisce about some of his walking stories and then feeding that back into the larger story.

This term we’re looking at illustrating the book and pulling the stories together and moving the project on with illustrations and poems.”

Watch this space for exciting developments.